Appeals Court Keen to Hear Microsoft Case

SAN FRANCISCO (06/13/2000) - Citing the "exceptional importance" of the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday signalled its willingness to review the verdict issued last week against Microsoft Corp. in its antitrust battle with the U.S. government.

In an order released Tuesday afternoon, the court agreed to hear Microsoft's appeal "en banc," or before the full panel of appeals court judges. In actual fact, three of the 10-member panel will be recused from the proceedings for various reasons, the appeals court said in its order.

The announcement came just hours after Microsoft filed its official notice of its intention to appeal the judge's ruling in the case. In the filing, Microsoft slammed the U.S. District Court that tried the antitrust case for what it called an array of "substantive and procedural errors."

A review by the appeals court is apparently exactly what the software maker is seeking. The court has already sided with Microsoft on a previous issue related to the antitrust case and its decision to bundle Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system. The U.S. government, on the other hand, appears to be trying to fast-track the appeal straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We believe it's a positive thing that the court of appeals believes this is an important case and that it's prepared to move expeditiously on it," a Microsoft spokesman said.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/. The U.S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C., can be reached on the Internet at http://www.usdoj.gov/.

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